Dental Bone Grafting
Bone integrity is vital when it comes to supporting your natural teeth and dental implants. If your bone is not strong enough to sustain a root or dental screw, it could result in missing teeth and exposed gums, allowing for the further chance of sustaining damage or infection. For patients who suffer from weak areas in their jawbone, bone grafting can be a life changing procedure. With the goal of promoting bone growth, bone grafting can strengthen areas of weakness to properly hold replacement teeth needed for a fully functioning mouth.
Bone Grafting Defined
Bone grafting is a highly advanced procedure used to promote new bone growth in the jaw. By using viable bone or similar synthetic materials, new growth is stimulated in deteriorating jawbones to increase strength and durability. Bone grafts are often required in patients seeking dental implants for missing teeth. However, weakness in the jawbone can result from several different conditions and dental issues.
- Some of the most common reasons for needing bone grafting include:
- Bones loss due to exposed gums from missing teeth
- Infection to the bone from tooth decay
- Trauma sustained from direct injury to mouth
- Previous surgical procedures
- Progression of gum disease
- Congenital disabilities in the oral cavity
Bone Grafting Process
If your dentist determines a bone graft would be beneficial to the health and well-being of your mouth, the procedure will take place an oral surgeon’s office. Before the procedure, your dentist will determine which type of material will be used to promote the most successful bone graft: bone or synthetic materials. Once the decided material is placed in your jawbone, a membrane is used as a sealant to protect the graft from damage and help jump-start the bone regeneration. Patients are encouraged not to touch or remove the membrane once it’s placed, as it will dissolve on its own.
Bone Graft Types
The materials used for a bone graft are not always the same. Since every patient mouth is different, the level of weakness in the bone and composition of the patient’s jaw will determine what material will work best for the bone graft.
Autogenous Bone Graft:
Dental providers will always start off your bone graft evaluation attempting to use existing bone from your body. Areas where your dentists may be able to extract enough healthy bone for a successful graft include your jaw (back portion). Using the patient’s own bone is ideal because it already contains living cells capable of producing new bone, providing the best chance of a healthy graft and reduced failure rate of the procedure.
Xenogeneic Bone Graft:
Human bones are not the only solution when it comes to using real bones for grafting. When unavailable, bones from animal cadavers can also be harvested to create a bone graft. Cow bones are typically used in these cases, serving as a structural framework for the jawbone to grow upon like the allogenic bone graft.
Synthetic Bone Graft:
In cases where the real bone from the patient or donors cannot be used, synthetic materials composed of selected proteins are available as suitable replacements. These elements enhance bone growth by resembling the natural makeup of bone and are safe for the body to accept. Materials used to create synthetic bone grafts include ceramic, collagen, and other composites popularly used for dental replacements.
Sinus Lifts and Bone Grafting
Bone loss in the upper jaw and near the region of the sinuses can result in the need for a sinus lift. A sinus lift is specialized bone graft created when there is inadequate room to place a dental implant due to the location of the sinuses. During a sinus lift, the sinus membrane is surgically positioned upward from the jawbone. This procedure allows for the placement of bone grafting materials to occur with a dental implant to follow.
Ridge Expansions and Bone Grafting
Some patients are born with narrow jaws, leaving a tight space for the placement of a dental implant. In cases such as these, a ridge expansion could be necessary. As the name indicates, a ridge expansion is a process by which the width and/or height of the upper ridge is expanded substantially enough for a dental implant. The jaw is split in half along the top seam of the mouth. Bone grafting materials are then placed where the jaw was broken to fuse the jaw bone
back together at its new size. For some patients, dental implants can be placed directly after the bone graft, while others may require a period of recovery before receiving the implant.
Costs of Bone Graft Procedures
The cost of bone grafting procedures is difficult to estimate until after a patient has been adequately evaluated by a dental professional. Due to the complexity of the procedure, patients will be required to complete several examinations to evaluate the overall health of their mouth and jaw. Once a treatment plan is determined, insurance companies can be an excellent resource in establishing a baseline cost you will be able to afford for yours. By calling a representative before your consultation, you can walk into the appointment with an idea of how and when you will be able to afford your dental treatment. Bone grafts produce surprising results for patients, serving as a useful step to achieving a restored and functional smile. To decide if a bone graft is necessary for your mouth reconstruction, set aside time at you next annual check up to discuss the options with your dentist.